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Social distancing measures to remain even after Luzon-wide quarantine —Nograles

Social distancing measures aimed at curbing the spread of the deadly coronavirus disease (COVID-19) will remain in place even after the end of the Luzon-wide quarantine, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said Wednesday.

Nograles is the spokesperson of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, which is currently studying whether to lift, extend or expand the enhanced community quarantine to other areas.

“It’s far from over. Totoo po ‘yun because habang wala pa pong vaccine ito, then ito na nga ‘yung sinasabi nating new normal,” he said in a virtual press conference.

“Kahit mag-transition na po tayo doon sa tinatawag nating new normal kailangan naka-implement pa po ‘yung mga social distancing measures.”

He said social distancing mechanisms were necessary to prevent “massive local transmissions.”

“Just to manage everybody’s expectations, hindi po ibig sabihin na by [the end of enhanced community quarantine] wala na po tayong COVID-19. Nandiyan pa rin po ang threat na ‘yan kasi nga wala pa tayong bakuna,” Nograles said.

Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said in a televised briefing on Wednesday that he is in favor of gradual lifting of the enhanced community quarantine to allow the resumption of essential businesses.

The Luzon-wide quarantine, which began on March 17 and will end on April 13, entailed sweeping restrictions on travel and mass gatherings as well as closure of schools and most businesses.

As of Wednesday afternoon, Philippine health authorities have recorded 2,311 COVID-19 cases in the country. Of this number, 96 patients have died and 50 have recovered.—LDF, GMA News